Cultural Happenings Pre Social Media: Walk This Way

Had an idea for a series of posts on important cultural events that happened pre-social media boom ... thinking about how the existence of YouTube, Flickr, blogs, Twitter and Facebook would have changed things.

Almost started with 9/11.  Then I thought I might want to ease my way into it.  And frankly, I don't need the crazy conspiracy theorists circling overhead. 

Run_dmc_walk_this_waySo I decided on something a bit lighter to pilot this ... Aerosmith's landmark collaboration with Run DMC on the remake of "Walk This Way." 

For the younger readers (this happened in 1986), it's impossible to overstate the pop cultural magnitude of this odd coupling. 

The first rap song to go Top 5 in The Billboard Hot 100.  The first music video of its kind played in heavy rotation on MTV [insert MTV video joke here].  Quite frankly, one of the first times I can remember in my childhood where kids of different races could tap their feet in unison.

So how do I think things would have played out differently if, in 1986, social media was the force it is today?

Internet Killed the Video Star.  I can remember sitting in front of the TV back then waiting for that magical moment when Tyler's and Perry's mugs filled the screen in a dark rehearsal space, that memorable riff kicking things off.  It could be days between viewings, and that scarcity was probably a huge driver of success.  These days we would all watch it on YouTube, and quickly move on to the next big thing.  

Mashup Muck up. The Aerosmith/DMC version of "Walk This Way" was a mashup of sorts - a great one at that.  In the social media era I suspect some well-intentioned [but misguided] fan would take this version and incorporate some silly club beat, animate in Kanye West upstaging Taylor Swift and for some reason geo-plot it on Google Maps.  No good.

Haters unite. I don't mean to get all serious, but if social media existed at the time of this collaboration it would have given a voice to all the haters ... rap purists, rock purists and even racists.  Remember, this kind of thing just wasn't done back then - it addressed a pretty big social taboo.

Net-net, I think this was one of those moments better off without social media.  The collaboration seemed that much more special because it was afforded the time and space to make its way through the cultural landscape, retaining its integrity and not caving to knee-jerk opinion or reaction. 

Ever get to the end of a post and wonder what the point was?  Yeah, I kind of feel that way too.  But I've never been shy about posting half thoughts here.

Thoughts or builds appreciated.